Bill Proposes Kids Under 13 Will Be Banned From Social Media

Portrait of a single white mother reading a book looking at her daughter using her mobile phone and spending too much time on internet. Parent Supervision of technology and social media dangers.

Today, United States senators unveiled their plans to ban kids under the age of 13 from using social media without parental consent. They’re calling the bipartisan bill “The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act” or “Kids’ Online Safety Act.” If passed, it would:

  • Set strict age limits for social media.
  • Restrict young children’s actions on social media platforms.
  • Prevent children from creating accounts without parental involvement.
  • Allow the government to control how platforms engage with young social media users.

Overview of the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act

Platforms included within the legislation would have to obtain a parent’s or guardian’s consent before creating new accounts for anyone under the age of 18. Furthermore, for ages 13 and below, there would be restrictions in place on which accounts with which they are able to view and interact. Meaning the law prevents even authorized account holders aged 13 and below from engaging with users ages 18 and up. Under the new law, those younger users would theoretically see no content posted by adults at all.

The Need for an Online Safety Act

As NPR pointed out, “Back in 2017, psychologist Jean Twenge set off a firestorm in the field of psychology.” Her intensive study on the effects social media and smartphones had on teens were startling. As smartphones and social media use drastically increased from 2012 to 2017, so did signs of depression and poor mental health among teens. Studies such as Twenge’s have not fallen on deaf ears. Senator Tom Cotton, a sponsor of the bill, proclaimed at a news conference, “Big tech has exposed our kids to dangerous content and disturbed people.” A parent himself, he continued, “Moms and dads have felt helpless while their kids suffer, sometimes leading to devastating tragedies.” 

With social media use and teen depression soaring simultaneously, it’s no wonder the government is taking action. But between content control and parental consent for minors’ accounts, they hope to see less daunting statistics in the future.

Identity Verification

Another sizable change that The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act is set to enforce is identity verification. Currently, it is easy for children to pass as adults on many social media platforms by simply selecting “I am above the age of 18 years old”. With the passing of The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act, this lackadaisical, take-your-word-for it “safety measure” would be no more. 

As a result of a children’s privacy law included in COPPA, most major social media platforms should be banning children under the age of 13 already. The law itself has been in place for a long time, but enforcement measures have been widely insufficient. With the passing of the new bill and identity verification, change will be inevitable. 

 As you can imagine, verifying the identity of a child or teen would be a tall task considering most do not have a government-issued identification card such as a passport or driver’s license. As a solvent, parent’s identify verification will be accepted. 

The Pros Vs Cons of Identity Verification

Identity verification will certainly solve the issue of children using social media with zero to no restrictions. It will also prevent kids from using social media at all without parental consent. The downside of the implementation of identity verification is that it will force the hand of both children and parents to cough up even more data and personal information to the government, social media platforms, and third-party identity verifiers. Even in 2023, data breaches and misuse show no signs of slowing down. If anything, data exploitation and misuse are seemingly trending upwards. This could deter parents from allowing their children to use social media altogether before they come of an older age. 


As Senator Brian Schatz pointed out, “The tech industry is going to come at this bill, and every other kids’ online safety bill, with everything it’s got.” The bill is meant to protect children. However, the measures needed to be bring platforms into compliance will set a massive burden on the shoulders of tech and social media companies. Tech company NetChoice has already spoken out against the bill saying it, “would require massive, widespread data collection and retention, undermining Americans’ privacy and security.”

With the mental health and safety of minors top-of-mind for The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act, it’s still no secret that even the best-intentioned measures come at a price. The price on this particular bill being privacy. What do you think? Parents: Is this a bill you can get behind?

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